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Skull - What We Know So Far

It's been a few years since audiences last saw the Predator hunt its helpless victims with extraterrestrial fury, which means it's time for someone else to take a crack at the legendary franchise. "10 Cloverfield Lane" director Dan Trachtenberg is the one telling a new story in the "Predator" universe, after Shane Black's "The Predator" failed to impress critics back in 2018. 

Surprisingly, work started on the new sequel, "Skull," while "The Predator" was still in production. Producer Jon Davis told Collider, "Dan came to me with a writer and an idea while we were shooting the movie," adding that former President of Production Emma Watts ushered the project along. "She said, 'you know what, let's go put this into development now and let's push on this now. Let's go for this now.'"

Trachtenberg and screenwriter Patrick Aison are turning the clock back for "Skull," which will explore the Predator's first trip to Earth, hundreds of years in the past. The project has been shrouded in secrecy and is nearly finished. Here's what else we know about Dan Trachtenberg's "Skull" so far, including who's in the cast, and when we can expect to see it on the big screen.

What's the release date for Skull?

"Skull" doesn't have an official release date yet, but we can expect to see it relatively soon since filming is nearly finished. John Davis revealed plenty about the project in the Collider interview, also explaining that the work is "probably three-quarters of the way through." This is particularly surprising since whispers about the project have only surfaced online in the last few months. Hopefully, this is because the studio executives know they have something special on their hands and are hoping to surprise longtime fans of the "Predator" franchise.

Since work on "Skull" is drawing to a close, the release date is probably much closer than anyone originally predicted. Factoring in post-production and possible reshoots, "Skull" could arrive by the end of 2022. "The Predator" debuted in September 2018, and this latest chapter could make a similar date as long as there are no hiccups in post-production. The rating of the film hasn't been decided yet, and that's a decision that will likely be made in the editing suite, according to Davis.

The producer told Collider that it was originally pitched with a similar tone to previous films, saying, "It all depends on how you end up cutting it, right? It was conceived as an R-rated movie." However, David also added, "It could easily end up PG-13. I guess I'm going to find out what it has to be or what it is when it's all cut together."

Who's in the cast of Skull?

"Skull" hasn't been widely discussed because it "was always done with a lot of secrecy," as John Davis put it. DiscussingFilm reported back in May 2021 that "Legion" star Amber Midthunder will lead the "Predator" sequel, although it originally went by the title" Skulls" to throw fans off the scent. Midthunder will star as Kee, "a Comanche woman who goes against the gender norms and traditions of her tribe to become a warrior." It's not clear who else is set to star in the film since 20th Century Studios has kept everything under wraps so far.

Because of the period setting, it's highly unlikely that characters from any previous "Predator" films will make surprise appearances unless there's some time-travel trickery afoot. But since that's never been a part of the franchise so far, it's a fair guess that Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't going to show up at the end. But that's a good thing — it gives Amber Midthunder the chance to show off her leading lady talents. Anyone who's seen her work on "Legion" or "The Ice Road" knows she can easily bring an intense presence to the screen.

What will happen in Skull?

The brief description of "Skull" teases that Amber Midthunder's character Kee has to rise up and become a warrior — presumably to fight a Predator on its first visit to the planet. It seems likely that, however their fight plays out, it'll be the reason the hunters keep returning for their deadly game. John Davis called the focus on Kee "pretty interesting," explaining that focusing on one person takes the sequel back to what made the original "Predator" film so successful.

"It's the ingenuity of a human being who won't give up," he said, adding, "who's able to observe and interpret basically being able to beat a stronger, more powerful, well-armed force." Thanks to the period setting, Kee will have an obvious technological disadvantage against her extraterrestrial foe. The producer also compared "Skull" to a surprising Leonardo DiCaprio film, saying "It actually has more akin to 'The Revenant' than it does any film in the 'Predator' canon. You'll know what I mean once you see it."

A possible R-rated film about a Comanche woman overcoming impossible odds to defeat a terrifying alien threat? This could be something great.